Monday, October 22, 2007

11/2: The ROWAN BROTHERS with Eric McDonald



“The modern day Everly Brothers
with a splash of bluegrass...”

Chris and Lorin Rowan were born and raised near Boston, Massachusetts where their more famous brother Peter was already making a name for himself in Earth Opera. All three brothers played in folk, bluegrass and pop bands. In the early ‘70s, through their brother’s connection, Chris and Lorin got hooked up with aspiring producer and instrumental wizard David Grisman. Before long, Chris and Lorin along with Grisman moved to “where it was happening” San Francisco, and they still reside there today. One of the brother’s first gigs in the Bay Area was opening for the Grateful Dead at the closing of the Fillmore West in 1971. Shortly thereafter Clive Davis (Columbia Records) and David Geffen (Asylum) got into a bidding war for the talented singer/songwriters. Davis won out and the band produced the lavish and much-neglected The Rowans Brothers album on Columbia (1972), (reissued in 2003 on Evangeline Recorded Works) which was produced by Grisman under the name of David Diadem. Musicians appearing on the album included drum legend Jim Keltner, Grisman, and the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia and Bill Kreutzmann. Not long after the release of the album Davis got canned from the label and the Rowans were left without support. A planned second album never materialized.

David Geffen came to the rescue and signed the brothers (now with Peter as part of the group) to Asylum. With Peter in tow they changed their moniker to simply The Rowans. They recorded three albums; The Rowans (1976) (reissued on CD by Collector’s Music Choice in 2003) Sibling Rivalry (1977) and Jubilation (1978). The two later albums have also just been reissued by Collector’s Music Choice in 2003, combined on one CD. The albums sold moderately well with a couple of singles breaking the top 100. Peter eventually went back to his bluegrass roots and Chris and Lorin continued for a while as The Rowans before venturing into some different musical areas. Throughout the years Chris and Lorin and occasionally Peter have continued to play as The Rowans periodically. In 1999 they released the bluegrass-based Tree On the Hill (Sugar Hill Records) and in 2003 Crazy People (Evangeline). Both Chris and Lorin have also released independent albums and have various side music projects.

Now, Chris and Lorin come full circle with the release of their new album "Now and Then" (BOS Music). The two-CD set will contain 34 genre-jumping tracks. Disc one features seventeen newly recorded songs that are laced with tight harmonies, haunting melodies and underscored by crisp guitar, mandolin and steel guitar picking. They offer a versatile and exciting mixture of bluegrass-flavored folk and Everly Brothers style rock and country. Contrasting the new tracks are seventeen vintage cuts (all previously unreleased in the US and making their debut on CD). These tracks date from the duo’s early 70s pop-rock forays with David Grisman. The album features an impressive cast of backing players including: Hal Blaine, Jerry Garcia, Richard Greene, David Grisman, Jim Keltner, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Mookie Siegel, Barry Sless, and many more.

Several of the Rowans songs have been recorded by national artists ranging from Jefferson Starship to most recently, the title track of country artist Ricky Skaggs' Grammy Award winning CD, "Soldier of the Cross", written by Lorin. A stripped down reworking of the song, here renamed “Soldier's Cross”, is on the new album serving as a musical segue between the new and the old.

The Rowans have appeared at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, the Kerrville Folk Fest, TX, and Telluride Music Festival, toured extensively as The Rowan Brothers (sometimes with brother, Peter) in the U.S. Europe, and Japan. They’ve performed on shows with Shawn Colvin, James Taylor, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Randy Travis, Alison Krauss, Nanci Griffith and others, as well as on National Public Radio's Garrison Keilor's Prairie Home Companion.

Most recently the brothers performed with Phil Lesh as members of Phil Lesh & The Hepcats’ with Lorin on lead guitar/vocals and Chris on acoustic rhythm guitar/vocals. At the start of 2003, Chris and Lorin played the featured actor/musician roles of brothers Cal and Fred Maddox, in the world premiere of the musical play ‘The Maddox Brothers and Rose’ (Sprekels Theatre/Performance Center of the Arts); the story of one of country music’s most popular earliest bands to mix country with rockabilly.

Eric McDonald

After four years of playing the mandolin, 20 year old Eric McDonald has established himself as one of the premier young local guys. In 2005, he began a run with bluegrass band Jaded Mandolin that would carry them through three years of highly acclaimed local touring, one well received self-released record and some great times. More recently, he has begun extensive work with Ari & Mia and Friedman, in addition to playing with Talaria, Patty Keough and the Boys, Thor's Rhapsody, Orion Longsword and the metal band Defenestrated. All this hard work has brought to such prestigous venues as Club Passim, The Me & Thee Coffeehouse, The Regent Theatre, The Cantab Lounge and the Hynes Convention Center. He has shared the stage with notable folk musicians such as Tracy Grammer, Jim Henry, Mark Simos, Tristan & Tashina Clarridge, The Resophonics, Barbara Kessler, Brian Webb, Susie Burke & David Surrette, Bill Staines, Edie Carey, David Coffin and many more. Currently enrolled at Berklee School of Music in Boston, Eric is looking forward to a bright, musical future.

Series information:,

Venue: Loring Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130. The Loring-Greenough House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been a historic house museum since 1926. Its beautiful period decor and intimate size make it an ideal setting for acoustic music.

Volunteers: This is a 100% volunteer-run effort. If you are interested in helping, please read the Volunteer Policy at

Reservations: Reservations are recommended as seating is limited to 40 and most past shows have sold out.

MBTA: Take #39 bus from either Back Bay Station or Forest Hills Station to the Monument stop, directly in front of the Loring-Greenough House, at the intersections of Centre and South Streets.

Parking: The Loring Greenough House lot holds 12 cars, gates will be closed when full. A public lot is located behind Blanchard’s liquors, one block away.

Future concerts:

Saturday, November 10, 2007, 7:30 pm ~ Kristin Cifelli w/ Carie Cherron ~ Contemporary Folk ~,,

Saturday, November 17, 2007, 7:30 pm ~ Mare Wakefield & Dan Gonzalez ~ Contemporary Folk ~,,,

Saturday, December 15, 2007, 8:00 pm ~ Jud Caswell & Pat Wictor ~ Contemporary Folk & Traditional Blues ~,,,

Saturday, December 22 2007, 8:00 pm ~ A very special holiday concert featuring Bob Franke ~ Traditional Folk ~

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